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Huntington Town's appointment process criticized

Visitors to Huntington Town Hall will undergo a

Visitors to Huntington Town Hall will undergo a more thorough screening after the town declared a state of emergency Thursday because of the coronavirus. Credit: Raychel Brightman

The Huntington Town Board appointed several members of various town agencies and groups at its last board meeting of 2018, though two council members said the appointment process lacked transparency.

At the Dec. 18 board meeting, the town board voted unanimously 5-0 to appoint Eve Krief, Pilar Moya, Veronica Melgar, Guillermo Perez and Rev. Glorious Artis to the town’s Anti-Bias Task Force.

But a resolution sponsored by Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci to nominate attorney Mara S. Manin Amendola to the town planning board was criticized by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson who complained about “a lack of transparency” and called the appointments “textbook Republican politics."

“I think we're ending the year on the same note that we started on which has permeated our agenda throughout the year which is the lack of transparency and unabashed patronage and politics,” Cuthbertson said at the meeting. “I would like to vote for Ms. Amendola but I have no idea who the other candidates were.”

Cuthbertson, a Democrat, said another resolution to appoint John Castagna as an alternate member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals also lacked transparency.

Councilwoman Joan Cergol, a fellow Democrat, said she agreed with Cuthbertson. The two abstained from the vote to appoint Amendola to the planning board. Lupinacci and council members Eugene Cook and Ed Smyth voted in favor of appointing Amendola, and to appoint Castagna as an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Cuthbertson voted against Castagna’s appointment. Cergol abstained from the vote.

“Both appointees are eminently qualified to serve in their appointed roles: Ms. Manin Amendola ... served as the Village Attorney for the Village of Huntington Bay, represented applicants with business before both the ZBA and Planning Board,” said Lupinacci in an emailed statement. “Mr. Castagna has innate knowledge of the Town of Huntington Building Code with his background as a firefighter and district maintenance mechanic for the Commack Fire Department.”

The board also voted unanimously 5-0 to appoint June Kendrick and Robert Stork to the town’s Harbor and Boating Advisory Council. Kendrick’s term expires at the end of 2022, and Stork’s term expires at the end of 2020.

The board unanimously reappointed Jonathan Heidelberger, Daniel Wolfe and George Devine to the Harbor and Boating Advisory Council for terms that expire at the end of 2020, Michael O’Rourke and Richard Rothamel for terms that expire at the end of 2019, Michael DiPasquale for a term that expires at the end of 2022, and Pamela Setchell and Richard Puccinelli for terms that expire at the end of 2023.

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